Proverbs 13:24 (NIV) teaches us that:

24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

I realize child abuse is a serious matter, and spanking is in some areas considered child abuse.

In US society and maybe others, it seems to be a real fear that if you spank your children, you could lose them to social services.

So how do Christians discipline their children as the Bible instructs in today's society?

  • US law has stolen the right to discipline your child. That's so sad. I personally think this is the reason why more and more liberals exists. (liberals are those, for example, who think abortion is right - which is wrong- and should give ISIS a job so that they won't kill people-which is also wrong)
    – 123iamking
    Feb 23 '18 at 2:38

Very good question.

The way to live your life as a Christian, is to find out what the scripture says and conform to that.

I live in America and I spank my child. I have no fear of losing them to Social Services. I play by the rules, using an open hand on the butt. I normally only have to smack them once or twice to get my point across.

I was raised by a 5'4" one hundred and ten pound mom that spanked me. When I get out of line today I still get hit, thanks mom... I can tell you that she did it right, I have the utmost respect for my mother and rarely if ever talk back to any of my elders because of it. The Bible is true folks.

Proverbs 29:17 NIV

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

This is a very, very valid point here. When you discipline your child with persistence, they will learn to respect you when you ask them to do something. They will not always fight you and therefore you will not always have to spank them.

Spanking is not the only answer to this question either. There's some book out called Love and Logic, although the book has its many fallacies as it relies to heavily on the secular, it still has some valid points. This book has some interesting ideas.

It's good to have a specific discipline for different kinds of offenses.

  • Cleaning up: 'till this day when I get mad I always start cleaning. It's a good technique to have your child go clean their room when they get into trouble or fights with each other. Probably not the most logical discipline if they're offense was not listening.
  • Timeout chair: although this is best used in tandem with spanking in my experience.
  • Make them say their sorry: If one child hurts another child I ALWAYS make them show love before the punishment of timeout. "Go give your brother a hug and a kiss and tell him that you're sorry."
  • Go to your Room: This is much different then time-outs, which usually involve the corner. If my children throw themselves on the ground or begin crying to get their way I escort them to their room and let them know that they can come out when they're done. These days they stop immediately, but I will not talk to them until they have regained their composure.

Remember that no matter what you do consistency is the key.

Another thing that I have learned is to pick my battles. There have been a few times in mine and my wives lives that we sat down, looked at each other and realized that we were yelling at the kids for every tiny offense.

Think about what you're child is doing before you tell them to not do it. Seriously. One day my child was climbing up on the window sill, 20" of the ground and I had the urge to tell them no. Then I thought about it for a minute, what is it going to hurt? If they fall, they will not die, they're just going to learn why I would be telling them no.

So my child slipped off the window sill and bopped his chin, crying of course he came to me (20 months old). I told him, "That's why we don't climb on the window. So remember, the next time I tell you that you can get hurt, this is why."


Your question about the practical feasibility about disciplining one's children "as the Bible instructs" assumes that the correct interpretation of Prov 13:24 is that we ought to physically discipline our children.

However, I am not sure that this is the only good reading of this proverb. The text is not an unequivocal injunction for physical disciplinary measures (spanking, for example). If "the rod" was the common means of disciplining the child circa the time that the proverb came into general use, then "whoever spares the rod hates their children" effectively means "he who fails to discipline his children hates his children." If the intent of this proverb were primarily to instruct the parent on the correct means of discipline, the contrast would not be between the parent who does discipline and who does not discipline ("whoever...but the one..."), but between the parent who disciplines with the rod and the parent who uses some other means of discipline.

So, I think the answer to your question -- how ought Christians to discipline their children as the Bible commands -- does not depend on whether the state permits parents to spank, or not.

I'll stop here, because I think there are two possible tacks that can be taken in trying to provide you with an answer, and I'm not sure which one you will be most interested in. They are:

i) The practical question: If spanking is the method by which a parent has chosen to discipline his child, what is the proper way to go about this, esp. given concerns about the State's policies on corporal punishment for children

ii) The theological question: How ought the Christian parent who is concerned to abide by this proverb discipline his or her child? (And this is not a question only about the means of discipline, but about the nature of discipline itself.)

  • Good job pointing out the nuance of the proverb.
    – user32
    Sep 3 '11 at 5:37

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